In the years I’ve been attending shows, I have been able to see some bands that are pretty well-known. Sloan, D.O.A, and others. (I don’t care how ‘big’ a band is. I love every band with the original passion that I love music with. It’s just to help the story flow better.)
But I was the most eager, in my own peculiar way, to see the DayGlo Abortions. Not only was I chomping at the bit to see the live version of the Hard-Core legends, but I was also curious to see if a promise could be fulfilled.
You see, the DayGlo Abortions were playing the basement of Crash Landing. And store owners Suzanne and Crash had said there MIGHT be the possibility of an interview with the band.
I was at once excited and terrified. If they could help me get an interview, awesome! The DayGlos are renowned in Canada. If they could, scary! This is the band, after all, who had an album cover with an aborted baby being served to Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
If they couldn’t, Thunder would be ‘that zine.’ The one that ‘almost’ interviewed the DayGlos, but that chicken Kristine couldn’t get on her own.
I decided to go to the show, and come what may! The DayGlo Abortions might be tough brutes, but damn, I was getting that interview!
When Crash came to get me and let me know that the interview was a go, I took a swig of my water bottle like it was gin. I ventured up the stairs, and remembered that if I hid my MP3 player/ voice recorder when the chaos started, history would eventually have this article for ages.
I know everyone wants a story where there was craziness, and my ghost is writing this because of the aftermath. But fact is, my panic overestimated things. As usual. I was introduced to two perfectly warm people. Murray Acton and Blind Mark. (Bassist Willy Jak was not available for the interview.) Both answered my questions as they had a beer, and I left thinking how myths become reality when given enough time.
(* Note: I was introduced to lead singer Murray Acton first. I had nearly completed my interview when drummer Blind Mark came in and I revved up the questions again.)
KW: For readers who may not be familiar, how long have the DayGlo Abortions been playing?
MA: Since 1980.
KW: What made you want to form the band?
MA: Well, the band formed suddenly in the demise of another band I had called the ‘Sick Fucks’ in the 70’s.
And we broke up, just fell apart. The original bass player we had in the DayGlos, still had a couple gigs to do with the Sick Fucks. And I said ‘Damn it Bonehead! We’re starting a new band.’ We had been jamming a bit in my basement, and I had this case of DayGlo brand spray paint that had been given as payment for playing a gig. ‘Free publicity for a year!’ They said. And the guy goes ‘Here’s your free publicity kids.’ Just all these cases of DayGlo brand spray paint.
And it being DayGlo, I said, ‘We’ll be the DayGlo, and whatever the most frequently used word on the front page of the paper is. And Henry Morgentaler’s clinic was in the news and all over the front page of the newspaper. Abortion, abortion, abortion! We thought ‘Haha, what a ridiculous name. DayGlo Abortions.’
KW: How would you describe your sound, yourself?
MA: Kind of wash-overs from the 70’s or something like that. I was 20 when the DayGlos started, so I was already through my teens. I grew up with Black Sabbath, all that 70’s Metal. Then Punk started happening, and I guess I incorporated the two. I don’t think were really very pure Punk band at all. Sort of Metal influenced and junk like that. I was worried at first. I remember thinking ‘Nobody is going to like this, it’s way too Metal.’ Or something like that.
KW: Some people think that the band is ‘fairly controversial.’ If we moved pass all that, what are you guys trying to convey in your words, in your music?
MA: There’s a mixture of things. One thing I sort of try to keep underlined is that we’re entertainers. Essentially, when it gets down to it. So we have to entertain people and be funny.
When I was a kid, I liked Frank Zappa a lot. And he was very sarcastic, but he also had social commentary.
And I have found that you can, under the guise of comedy, you can slide a little bit of politics in there that people might not otherwise accept.
If people are all defensive and everything like that; thinking that you are attacking their belief system or something, they shut it all out. But you get them softened up with some good jokes, they’ll suck it right up.
I do have kind of a direction. Really, if anything, I think it’s important for people that are artists or musicians of any kind, to try and spread the knowledge of how to make it. So I think it’s important to get out there and encourage kids how to play music. Because it’s a big deal. It’s the pinnacle of human existence, almost. And it’s important to society, and everything. You can see how it affects the direction of the world. You have the ear of the youth too, which is a big thing. It’s either us or the advertisers.
KW: In my opinion, there’s not a lot of Canadian stuff. Like, not as much as you see American stuff.
MA: We’re very inundated by American media. Which just makes it more of a responsibility. I don’t really have solutions to things, but I do point out issues in society. And make fun of them.
KW: What bands are you listening to right now?
MA: Right now? I listen to all kinds of weird stuff. A couple of D-beat bands like Tragedy, I like them quite a bit. We’ve done 12 or 13 shows with End Program from Oshawa-
KW: I listen to them too!
MA: They are one of the best bands in the country. They are so good.
KW: They’re amazing!
MA: They rock! And they’re really nice guys. Another band from around here, Go Die Scum. They’re pretty rockin’ as well. The coast has Life Against Death, a really good Grind band. With a female singer.
KW: With a female singer?! That’s awesome.
MA: It’s ass-kickin’. They’re actually on their second female singer, but she’s really good too. But it’s a bunch of different bands, and I like different kinds of music too. Pretty well anything that’s played from the heart. God, I can listen to disco if it’s being played well and played from the heart.
KW: As long as they’re honest about it.
MA: Exactly. And you can spot it a mile away.
KW: The name ‘The DayGlo Abortions’ is pretty revered in the Canadian Punk scene. When you started the band, did you think it was going to become what it is today?
MA: I thought we might get publicly stoned or something. Because our first stuff was really more a parody of Punk than Punk Rock itself. My thoughts were ‘Look at all these guys spitting on each other, sticking safety pins through their noses. It’s absurd!’
KW: It can be.
MA: It’s a f**kin’ fashion show when it gets down to stuff like that. And yeah, I didn’t expect to be super popular or anything like that. But I used to crack jokes at how what’s ‘unacceptable today’ will be common place. And it’s kinda funny how it turned out to be true. Everybody used to hate when we were starting out, but now, it doesn’t seem like anyone has a bad thing to say about the DayGlos anywhere. Now you have to something quite rash to get people going. I don’t know what you could do now, hehe.
KW: I know that the band is from British Columbia. What do you guys think of the Hamilton Punk scene?
MA: We haven’t been here in a couple of years, but we have friends in town. We have friends who have been members of the Forgotten Rebels, The Hammerboiz, and all those bands from around Hamilton.
KW: What keeps you into Punk Rock for all these years?
MA: I’m doing what I think I was meant to do. Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I was going to play music. It’s also fun. And it’s rewarding, there is a phenomenal feeling to make music and hear it sung back to you. The levels of accomplishment that you can make too. Every time you finish something or write a song, you can feel really damn good about it. It’s horrifyling addictive, hahaha. The Punk community in itself is really wicked too. We’re heading over to Germany tomorrow afternoon, and it will be the same there. Very welcoming, we’ll see the town from the local’s point of view. It’s a wonderful thing. One of the fans will take us home, the mom will make us dinner. So it’s a mix, but that’s why.
KW: You are all about to play a very intimate show here at Crash Landing. But you have also played bigger venues. Is there a type of show you prefer to play?
MA: The big ones are weird, usually. Especially when you have security and you can’t see the crowd. It’s very impersonal. Those are hard to do a good show at. The intimate shows, the basement shows, you’re in there. There isn’t any escaping it, hahaha. It’s terrifying sometimes, but the intimate shows are the most fun. I have to say though, it’s nice to have a mixture.
KW: In your opinion, has Punk Rock changed for better or for worse since you started playing?
MA: Punk Rock has been consumed by the big machine. I don’t really look at it like original Punk Rock anymore. ‘Punk Rock Now’ sells cars, running shoes, and all that kinda crap.
But in many way it’s still there, pissed off and angry as ever, still doing the same kind of thing. I think it can shoot off into different genres. I think it’s as valid as it ever was, it’s just in very small, fringe bands.
Alot of people think Punk is dead, but it’s not.